91 Facts About Anne Boleyn


Anne Boleyn was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536, as the second wife of King Henry VIII.


Early in 1523, Anne Boleyn was secretly betrothed to Henry Percy, son of Henry Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland, but the betrothal was broken off when the Earl refused to support their engagement.


Anne Boleyn resisted his attempts to seduce her, refusing to become his mistress, as her sister Mary had previously been.


Anne Boleyn has inspired, or been mentioned in, many artistic and cultural works and retained her hold on the popular imagination.


Anne Boleyn has been called "the most influential and important queen consort England has ever had", as she provided the occasion for Henry VIII to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and declare the English church's independence from the Vatican.


The key piece of surviving written evidence is a letter Anne Boleyn wrote sometime in 1514.


Anne Boleyn wrote it in French to her father, who was still living in England while Anne was completing her education at Mechelen, in the Burgundian Netherlands, now Belgium.


In Ives's view, this would be around the minimum age that a girl could be a maid of honour, as Anne Boleyn was to the regent, Margaret of Austria.


In that history, in the chapter dealing with Elizabeth's early life, he records in the margin that Anne Boleyn was born in MDVII.


Anne Boleyn's relatives included the Howards, one of the preeminent families in England; and Anne Boleyn's ancestors included King Edward I of England.


The spelling of the Anne Boleyn name was variable, as common at the time.


At the court of Margaret of Austria in the Netherlands, Anne Boleyn is listed as Boullan.


Anne Boleyn was called "Anna Bolina"; this Latinised form is used in most portraits of her.


Anne Boleyn developed domestic skills such as dancing, embroidery, good manners, household management, music, needlework and singing.


Anne Boleyn learned to play games, such as cards, chess and dice.


Anne Boleyn was taught archery, falconry, horseback riding and hunting.


In France, Anne Boleyn was a maid of honour to Queen Mary, and then to Mary's 15-year-old stepdaughter Queen Claude, with whom she stayed nearly seven years.


Anne Boleyn acquired knowledge of French culture, dance, etiquette, literature, music and poetry; and gained experience in flirtation and courtly love.


William Forrest, author of a contemporary poem about Catherine of Aragon, complimented Anne Boleyn's "passing excellent" skill as a dancer.


Anne Boleyn was recalled to marry her Irish cousin, James Butler, a young man several years older than she who was living at the English court.


Anne Boleyn was already in possession of Kilkenny Castle, the earls' ancestral seat.


Sir Thomas Anne Boleyn, being the son of the eldest daughter, believed the title properly belonged to him and protested to his brother-in-law, the Duke of Norfolk, who spoke to the king about the matter.


Anne Boleyn would bring her Ormond inheritance as dowry and thus end the dispute.


Historians dispute Henry VIII's paternity of one or both of Mary Anne Boleyn's children born during this marriage.


Anne Boleyn quickly established herself as one of the most stylish and accomplished women at the court, and soon a number of young men were competing for her.


In 1526, Henry VIII became enamoured of Anne Boleyn and began his pursuit.


Anne Boleyn was a skilful player at the game of courtly love, which was often played in the antechambers.


Some say that Anne Boleyn resisted Henry's attempts to seduce her, refusing to become his mistress, and often leaving court for the seclusion of Hever Castle.


Anne Boleyn saw an opportunity in Henry's infatuation and the convenient moral quandary.


Anne Boleyn determined that she would yield to his embraces only as his acknowledged queen.


Anne Boleyn began to take her place at his side in policy and in state, but not yet in his bed.


Anne Boleyn was sympathetic to those seeking further reformation of the Church, and actively protected scholars working on English translations of the scriptures.


Henry left London, frequently changing his residence; Anne Boleyn retreated to the Boleyn residence at Hever Castle, but contracted the illness; her brother-in-law, William Carey, died.


Anne Boleyn set his hopes upon a direct appeal to the Holy See, acting independently of Wolsey, to whom he at first communicated nothing of his plans related to Anne.


Anne Boleyn was still Charles V's hostage, and Charles V was loyal to his aunt Catherine.


One evening, in the autumn of 1531, Anne Boleyn was dining at a manor house on the River Thames and was almost seized by a crowd of angry women.


Anne Boleyn established an excellent rapport with the French ambassador, Gilles de la Pommeraie.


At the magnificent banquet to celebrate her father's elevation, Anne Boleyn took precedence over the Duchesses of Suffolk and Norfolk, seated in the place of honour beside the king that was usually occupied by the queen.


Anne Boleyn was the last queen consort of England to be crowned separately from her husband.


Unlike any other queen consort, Anne Boleyn was crowned with St Edward's Crown, which had previously been used to crown only monarchs.


Historian Alice Hunt suggests that this was done because Anne Boleyn's pregnancy was visible by then and the child was presumed to be male.


Anne Boleyn had a decisive role in influencing the Protestant reformer Matthew Parker to attend court as her chaplain, and before her death entrusted her daughter to Parker's care.


Anne Boleyn gave birth to a girl, who was christened Elizabeth, probably in honour of either or both Anne Boleyn's mother Elizabeth Howard and Henry's mother, Elizabeth of York.


The infant princess was given a splendid christening, but Anne Boleyn feared that Catherine's daughter, Mary, now stripped of her title of princess and labelled a bastard, posed a threat to Elizabeth's position.


Anne Boleyn frequently visited her daughter at Hatfield and other residences.


Anne Boleyn employed several priests who acted as her confessors, chaplains and religious advisers.


Anne Boleyn was once reported to have spoken to her uncle in words that "shouldn't be used to a dog".


Anne Boleyn spent lavish amounts of money on gowns, jewels, head-dresses, ostrich-feather fans, riding equipment, furniture and upholstery, maintaining the ostentatious display required by her status.


Anne Boleyn's motto was "The most happy", and she chose a white falcon as her personal device.


Anne Boleyn responded by ripping the locket off Jane's neck with such force that her fingers bled.


Later that month, the king was unhorsed in a tournament and knocked unconscious for two hours, a worrying incident that Anne Boleyn believed led to her miscarriage five days later.


Whatever the cause, on the day that Catherine of Aragon was buried at Peterborough Abbey, Anne Boleyn miscarried a baby which, according to the imperial ambassador Eustace Chapuys, she had borne for about three and a half months, and which "seemed to be a male child".


Mike Ashley speculated that Anne Boleyn had two stillborn children after Elizabeth's birth and before the male child she miscarried in 1536.


The conversations between Chapuys and Cromwell thereafter indicate Cromwell as the instigator of the plot to remove Anne; evidence of this is seen in the Spanish Chronicle and through letters written from Chapuys to Charles V Anne argued with Cromwell over the redistribution of Church revenues and over foreign policy.


Anne Boleyn advocated that revenues be distributed to charitable and educational institutions; and she favoured a French alliance.


Anne Boleyn initially denied being the queen's lover but later confessed, perhaps after being tortured or promised freedom.


Anne Boleyn was accused of adultery, incest, and high treason.


Anne Boleyn's one-time betrothed, Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland, sat on the jury that unanimously found Anne Boleyn guilty.


Anne Boleyn died childless eight months later and was succeeded by his nephew.


William Kingston, the Constable of the Tower, reported Anne Boleyn seemed very happy and ready to be done with life.


Anne Boleyn ritually repeated this oath immediately before and after receiving the sacrament of the Eucharist.


Anne Boleyn wore a red petticoat under a loose, dark grey gown of damask trimmed in fur and a mantle of ermine.


Anne Boleyn climbed the scaffold and made a short speech to the crowd:.


Anne Boleyn gracefully addressed the people from the scaffold with a voice somewhat overcome by weakness, but which gathered strength as she went on.


Anne Boleyn begged her hearers to forgive her if she had not used them all with becoming gentleness, and asked for their prayers.


The ermine mantle was removed and Anne Boleyn lifted off her headdress, tucking her hair under a coif.


Anne Boleyn knelt upright, in the French style of beheadings.


Cranmer felt vulnerable because of his closeness to the queen; on the night before the execution, he declared Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn to have been void, like Catherine's before her.


Anne Boleyn made no serious attempt to save Anne's life, although some sources record that he had prepared her for death by hearing her last private confession of sins, in which she had stated her innocence before God.


Anne Boleyn was then buried in an unmarked grave in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.


Anne Boleyn's skeleton was identified during renovations of the chapel in 1876, in the reign of Queen Victoria, and Anne's grave is identified on the marble floor.


Since physical deformities were generally interpreted as a sign of evil, it is unlikely that Anne Boleyn would have gained Henry's romantic attention had she had any.


Anne Boleyn was described by contemporaries as intelligent and gifted in musical arts and scholarly pursuits.


Anne Boleyn was strong-willed and proud, and often quarrelled with Henry.


Anne Boleyn's appearance has been much discussed by historians, as all of her portraits were destroyed following an order by Henry VIII, who wanted to erase her from history.


One of the only contemporary likenesses of Anne Boleyn was captured on a medal referred to as "The Moost Happi Medal" which was struck in 1536, probably to celebrate her pregnancy which occurred around that time.


The other possible portrait of Anne Boleyn was a secret locket ring that her daughter Elizabeth I possessed and was taken from one of her fingers at her death in 1603.


Anne Boleyn was considered brilliant, charming, driven, elegant, forthright and graceful, with a keen wit and a lively, opinionated and passionate personality.


Anne Boleyn was depicted as "sweet and cheerful" in her youth and enjoyed cards and dice games, drinking wine, French cuisine, flirting, gambling, gossiping and good jokes.


Anne Boleyn was fond of archery, falconry, hunting and the occasional game of bowls.


Anne Boleyn had a sharp tongue and a terrible temper.


Anne Boleyn exerted a powerful charm on those who met her, though opinions differed on her attractiveness.


Anne Boleyn was rather tall of stature, with black hair, and an oval face of a sallow complexion, as if troubled with jaundice.


Anne Boleyn was handsome to look at, with a pretty mouth.


Anne Boleyn knew little Latin and, trained at a French court, she was influenced by an "evangelical variety of French humanism", which led her to champion the vernacular Bible.


Anne Boleyn later held the reformist position that the papacy was a corrupting influence on Christianity, but her conservative tendencies could be seen in her devotion to the Virgin Mary.


The inscription implies that Anne Boleyn was a Renaissance woman, exposed to new ideas and thoughts relating to her faith.


Many legends and stories about Anne Boleyn have existed over the centuries.


Anne Boleyn's body was said to have rested in an Essex church on its journey to Norfolk.


In 18th-century Sicily, the peasants of the village of Nicolosi believed that Anne Boleyn, for having made Henry VIII a heretic, was condemned to burn for eternity inside Mount Etna.


Anne Boleyn appeared to challenge something, which to Dundas "looked like a whitish, female figure sliding towards the soldier".